Monday, February 23, 2009

Esse Quam Videri

I have wanted to do this for sometime now, but I did not have the heart to shut down this blog (or the other blogs I kept). For several reasons: I’ve been really busy the past few months, and the only free time I have I’d rather spend catching up on sleep; another is the closure of some of the blogs that I regularly read, and when I asked them it was always for the same reason- their blog had fulfilled its purpose and it was time to move on; finally, the last of my creative ideas seemed to ebb as I spend more and more time memorizing (naks!) and studying. This collegiate year was crucial because the special areas of Operating Room, Orthopedic, Maternal and Child Care, Psychiatric, and Community Health Nursing were taken up, along with the exposure and on-call duties.

I miss blogging regularly- like that summer in ’07 when I didn’t have much to do and all I did was blog, go to the gym, go for a swim (o diba rhyming words ito), blog again, go to sleep in the wee hours of the morning, and the next day- repeat the cycle. I’ve changed the format and look of this blog a thousand times to fit my moods until I no longer had the time or energy to do it. This blog had seen major life changes in me, that’s why it hurts too much to just end it.

Real life happens. As I write this (it’s 5am) I have about four other tasks waiting to be done, along with hospital duty at 2-10pm. Real life happens, so I’ll put aside my crazy obsession of trying to write something good. I laugh at myself at the lengths I went through to see how far I could go as a writer- these faces flash before me in sequence: the Chinese man who published City Girl, Prof. Alunan of UP Tac with her gray hair and gracious demeanor, my editor Rod from LNU and his thick glasses, the procurement officer from Reader’s Home, and seeing those strangers in bookstores leafing through my book…

For now, I guess it is closing time, while I work on other things. As always, I thank you for taking a peek in this corner of cyberspace ;-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This lady is a poet. Seriously, I remember my call center days as a Customer Service Representative and my first irate call- a verbally abusive woman who called me every name in the book- believe me, we CSRs should be given credit for dealing with these less-than-subtle people on the phone.

When I handled my own team, I also got to handle even more atrocious callers (as a rule, CSRs who cannot handle such a call must transfer to a manager or supervisor), but eventually I got used to dealing with them. I told my team:

1. These people are irate for a reason- they've experienced bad service, or have been severely inconvenienced, or perhaps they are frustrated, or simply bitches by nature (excuse my french) but the point is, allow them to verbalize and try to probe what the problem is about. Apologize sincerely and assure them you'd do your best to help them.

2. After your assessment, if you think there's nothing you can do to help his/her problem explain how it works (some protocols need to be followed, and sometimes a specific department cannot do something to augment a certain problem when the problem is, for example, technical- only the IT department can fix that). If they are still irate and you feel that the call could go on and on with no resolution, transfer the call- but don't drop it or cut the caller off! (No matter how tempting it is) You'll put your job in jeopardy by compromising quality.

Sounds like the CSR here was eaten alive by our "poet". Dead air, inappropriate sidetalk- in the end it is the CSR who will be evaluated, not the caller. Final advice: put yourself in their shoes and be genuinely interested in helping them despite their hysterics. They are people too, and it is your job to help them out. Psychos or not ; )

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ako si Ada, Isang Bakla. Yung lang.

Image source:
“Yun lang…” Eula Valdez utters the last line, in her Zaturnnah garb- flaming red hair and all. It was standing ovation during the curtain call.

I had forgotten how much fun it was to watch live theater- the last time was in UP Diliman when I was a mere sophomore. Carlo Vergara’s Zsazsa Zaturnnah, Ze Musikal is a delightful, thought-provoking play that gives a humorous and refreshing take on gay issues like self-acceptance, gender equality, and of course, same-sex love.

In my case, it was certainly worth flying to Manila for (of course to spend our very first Valentine’s Day as a couple, ‘di ba Hun?), and returning to Tacloban in record time the following day for fear that Nanay might suspect I’ve been gallivanting. I slipped out of my Saturday class and hurried to the airport… totally worth cutting classes for! Kidding, I’m kidding- I asked permission from the instructor, of course.

I probably won’t stop raving about it to my friends, I mean, I enjoyed the comic book before, but to see it live in theater with a terrific cast- it was absolutely fantastic. Perfection! A celebration of the colorful, often dramatic life of pinoy gay men. Being born different is as unexpected as the pink Zaturnnah stone falling on Ada, bestowing unique abilities and woes that came with it. But hey, in time we all come to terms with it and find our own strength (right Ada?). After all those years of struggles and drama, I too, could finally say this, without shame or remorse:


Joke. Eto yun:

“Ako si Thad, isang bakla. Yun lang!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Last Trip to Marabut

I’m the kind of guy you’d see at the bus terminal at dawn, holding a cup of instant coffee, standing uncomfortably beside chicken crates and dry goods, waiting for the first bus to arrive. I don’t really mind traveling alone, in fact, I find it sometimes to be particularly soothing.

I’ve had this love affair with Samar since I first laid eyes on its pristine coves coyly hidden by forests, and well, I’m not too keen with sharing this parcel of paradise with just about anyone. And because of Samar’s distance (and perhaps hushed rumors of leftist armies) few people brave the four hour trip to visit the towns of Guiuan and Borongan. That leaves die hard travel fanatics like myself to revel in the unspoiled beauty of the place.

This wayfarer however, has not set foot in one of those rickety buses for some time. Partly because of schedule, and partly because, I think I’ve lost that rash impulsiveness that came with youth. I’m exaggerating- I’m still in my twenties, but have considerably mellowed down so I no longer hop on a bus unplanned, unscheduled, and hoping to arrive back home in one piece.

Last summer, before Mama and Ted left for the States, I urged them to take a trip with me. I insisted on tiptoeing while everyone was still asleep so by the time everyone was up, we were already on a bus, safe from last minute “Sama ako!!” pleas from relatives. If you want to enjoy a very relaxing weekend, I told them, then we go secretly.

It was great to feel the wind whipping my face again. The bus was crowded and noisy, and Mama, used to the comforts of a private car, grumbled all the way. When we finally arrived in Marabut, we hopped on to one of the floating cottages and had food delivered by banca. The entire weekend slipped by placidly, and we were bronzed and content by the time we headed back to Tacloban the following Monday.

Maybe I ought to take one of those impulsive trips one of these days. I bet Samar would be just as I remembered it, and just as I remembered Mama- vibrant, lively, and ever so beautiful.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


These were from the recent exhibit that I spearheaded- all original photos from our community exposure. Our concept was to use photos that accurately depict what students do in the community (in dramatic black and white, sans the Friendster-intended pics lol!)- and we hope our exhibit, printed in A3 photopaper displayed in a Filipiniana or native design (using banig, bamboo, etc.)- will make a good impression to visitors. Many thanks to every single one of my classmates who helped- we did a great job guys!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fine Things

From left to right: Aeropostale casual leather bracelet, Guess men's watch 5 ATM, Gucci formal watch, Valentino square silver watch, Seiko chronograph.

Forgive me, but this is an indulgence I don't feel guilty of. Since I was young I loved timepieces- my first was a plastic Casio watch my father gave me. Here are my favorite things and the story behind them:
Aeropostale: this oversize watch (na ngayon ay parang kinakalawang na) is my brother Ted's. He left it when he last visited from the US, ergo akin na lang haha!
Guess: Can you believe it? I found this diver's watch by accident!! Pero ayun na-karma ako, a few days later I lost my phone sa tricycle. Nevertheless nagamit ko ito when we went diving sa Coron.
Gucci: Again my brother's. He thought Mama took it- medyo manipis kasi at nice daw yung bracelet. Yun pala naiwan lang sa bahay namin. Alams na. He decided to give it to me (as if may choice pa) nyahahaha
Valentino: Resembled the first watch I bought myself from my first paycheck. Eto ata bagay na shape at design sa akin- square, white yung face, at silver. Yung binili ko five years ago sira na, yung sunod na binili ko binigay ko kay Papa, so eto ngayon yung mura na version. Pero love ko naman- brings back memories ahihi
Seiko: Useful pag nag-laps sa pool o nag-check ng gtts ng IV fluid. Bigay uli ni Ted. Bait talaga ng kapatid ko hehe

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

"I never promised you a rose garden. I never promised you perfect justice . . . and I never promised you peace of happiness. My help is so that you can be free to fight for all of those things. The only reality I offer is challenge, and being well is being free to accept it or not at whatever level you are capable. I never promise lies, and the rose-garden world of perfection is a lie…”

After a two-week intensive Psychiatric Nursing lecture, one of the tasks assigned was to make three book reviews on novels that were about mental illnesses. The line quoted above is from Joanne Greenberg’s I Never Promised you a Rose Garden, a story of a 16 year old girl who was admitted by her parents for treatment of Schizophrenia (following the girl's suicide attempt). Greenberg paints the harrowing picture of a troubled childhood, full of traumatic experiences which led Deborah, the main character, to retreat into an imaginary universe with strange denizens. The book chronicles daily life in the “Disturbed Ward”, and follows Deborah as she slowly begins to progress in her treatment.

In the final chapter, she decides to give her life another chance- she takes and passes her equivalency exams, which means she could continue on to college. The last fragments of her imaginary world fades as she remembers one of the characters in that world was merely an image she found in Paradise Lost. Deborah commits herself fully to integrating herself into the real world and at last, leave the make-believe kingdom behind.
The book is a must-read! Though expect to feel melancholic after reading it ; )


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